HELENA — Update 8:15 p.m. - According to the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest, the Ellis fire is now estimated at 75 acres and the Balsinger Fire is estimated at 50 acres.
Pre-evacuations remain in place for west side of Belt Park subdivision to Highway 89 and all of the Deer Creek Estates subdivision.
Update 7:00 p.m. - The Balsinger Fire has increased to an estimated 100 acres according to Cascade County Disaster & Emergency Services.
The below map from Cascade County DES outlines the evacuation area (outlined in red) with the current location of the fire within the black circle. Immediate preparation for Evacuation is HIGHLY recommended within this red outlined area.
Original Story - New fires have been reported north of White Sulphur Springs. The Balsinger Fire is currently burning between Neihart and Monarch, while the Ellis Fire is northeast near the Smith River.
The Balsinger Fire started near the South Pilgrim Trailhead. Pre-evacuation has been ordered for the west side of Belt Park subdivision to Highway 89 and all of the Deer Creek Estates subdivision.
Forest Service Rd 839 Divide Road is closed from the east side of Taylor Hills Trailhead to FS Rd 6511 Belt Park Connector.
The fires current size is approximately 25 acres and there are six Sheriff’s Deputies in the area conducting Fire Evacuation Orders as of this time, in Belt Park. Forest Service crews are actively fighting the fire with one tanker and one helicopter.
The Ellis Fire is in the Dry Range near the Smith River. A Type 3 Incident Command is en route.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.